Lost history: Saving what's left of Sugar Hill

February 7, 2017

In honor of Black History Month, here's rare images and the story of Jacksonville's Sugar Hill neighborhood. Prior to largely being destroyed by desegregation, highway construction, medical center expansion, and urban renewal, Sugar Hill was the epicenter of black prosperity in Northeast Florida.



Sugar Hill of Yesterday



1. Abraham Lincoln Lewis Residence at 504 8th Street.



2. The residence of Bishop Henry Y. Tookes at 1011 8th Street. This house still exists today a few hundred feet west of the Interstate 95/8th Street interchange.



3. The residence of Dr. and Mrs. William Redmond at 2028 Davis Street.



4. The Gabunion Littlejohn Residence at 1424 Jefferson Street. Mr. Littlejohn was a carrier with the U.S. postal service. Mrs. Littlejohn was the first nurse to be given the T.B. Fellowship at the University of Michigan. Their son, Francis, is seen standing in front of their Sugar Hill home in 1942.



5. The residence of Mr. and Mrs. Lawton Pratt at 582 West 8th Street.



6. Inside the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Butler at 1544 Jefferson Street. Dr. Butler was a local druggist and his wife was a prominent teacher and club woman.



7. Rare scenes of Jacksonville's exclusive Sugar Hill. During the 1950s, the Jacksonville Expressway Authority's first highway was built through the heart of the community, leading to the ritzy African-American neighborhood's decline.



8. Rare scenes of Jacksonville's exclusive Sugar Hill. What Interstate 95 did not remove was later destroyed by the continued campus growth of the neighborhood's multiple medical facilities. Today, much of this area is the campus of UF Health Jacksonville.



9. Rare scenes of Jacksonville's exclusive Sugar Hill. Residences that overcame highway construction and hospital expansion where then left to deal with urban renewal.



10.The Wilder Park Public Library. Mrs. Olga Owens Bradham was the librarian in 1942. Wilder Park was the premier green and recreational space for black Jacksonville residents during segregation. Wilder Park and its library were paved for the construction of Interstate 95's interchange with Kings Road during the 1950s. The neighborhoods have not been the same since then.



11. Brewster Hospital on North Jefferson Street.



12. The A. L. Lewis Branch of the Young Women's Christian Association. The insert shows Mrs. Florence Jones Dixon, the executive secretary of the YWCA.


Source: https://books.google.com/books?id=JVsEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=the+crisis+1942+jacksonville&source=bl&ots=YafcehhAKg&sig=oyQBTX_KFvTXR-i03UvcQJzT6HE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=G4XOVP3OMZX-sATHkIGQCw&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=the crisis 1942 jacksonville&f=false


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